Wireless headphones used to be perfect for head-bangers: The constant static and dropouts made you want to bang your head against the wall. But it’s a different ballgame now, and cruising around the house sans wires doesn’t have to cause any audio-induced migraines.
Sennheiser’s RS 180 is part of a new line of wireless headphones that use Kleer technology, a 2.4-GHz-band wireless system that transmits CD-quality audio over (reasonably) long distances without interference. The RS 180 setup is pretty simple: You plug the docking station/charger into an audio source (laptop, stereo, iPod, etc.), flip the power switch, and the audio starts streaming to the headphones.
Lined with soft fabric, the cans remain consistently comfortable, which make a difference during long listening sessions and movies. And since they are fairly light and open-air, you don’t feel like your head is in a giant suction cup. Several small buttons on the side of the headphone let you control volume and balance, although it takes a while to get the hang of it.
Unlike wireless headphones we’ve tested in the past, we never heard any hissing, static, dropouts or other interference with the RS 180. It has decent range — about 100 feet or so, depending on how many walls are present — but nowhere near the 300 feet that Sennheiser claims.
With an open-air design, similar to Grado headphones, the RS 180 has a natural and lively sound that complements most any style of music. The bass response is somewhat limited on the low end, but is otherwise clean and tight. And after a few weeks of listening, these headphones really open up and show off some great balance, clarity and frequency response. The RS 180’s price tag is a touch steep, but if you want wireless freedom and good sound quality, the alternatives are slim and few.